On Thursday in Columbus, the Wexner Center will screen the new documentary Better Than Something: Jay Reatard, a film about prolific Memphis punk-rocker Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr. aka Jay Reatard, who died in 2010 at the age of 29. What began as a series of 2009 interviews with Lindsey for a promotional documentary called Waiting for Something became a larger project after his death, as the filmmakers sought out Lindsey’s friends, family members and former bandmates to fill out the picture of a controversial figure, known for his on-stage vitriol as much as his hooks. (I remember him hurling at least two insults at crowd members during his show at the Summit just a couple months before he died.)
The A.V. Club describes the doc this way: “Better Than Something doesn’t really try to resolve the mystery of how someone could be simultaneously so productive and destructive. But given how briefly Jay Reatard was in the public eye, it’s a thrill to see so much performance footage in Better Than Something, as well as to hear multiple perspectives on some of the most legendary Reatard antics.”
The Wexner Center is also bringing in Eric Davidson, singer for the legendary Columbus band New Bomb Turks, to introduce the screening. Davidson wrote about Jay Reatard in his book We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988–2001. Davidson will also DJ and sign books from 5:30-7 in the Wex store.
Ace of Cups hosts the post-screening party with Angry Cougars, Slave Labia and Nervosas.
For folks not in Columbus or just not able to attend the Parking Lot Blowout (Gibson Bros, Scrawl, Turks) on Saturday, the tech-savvy people at the Columbus Music Co-Op will have a live stream going from 3-10pm here.
And as we mentioned previously, Eric Davidson of the New Bomb Turks will be reading from his new book, We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, on Friday night at the Wexner Center (deets). At noon on Friday, the Wex is also going to stream a conversation with Davidson and fellow Turk Matt Reber here. (“The two musicians will discuss the Columbus scene, past and present,” says the Wex.)
Editor’s note: “Overlooked in Ohio” is a feature in which we ask an Ohio-based artist/music enthusiast to tell us about a band or bands from the state of Ohio (past or present) that deserve some love. Our fifth installment comes courtesy of Eric Davidson — New Bomb Turks singer, rock scribe and now real-deal author. His new book We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 is out now. He’ll read from it in Columbus at the Wexner Center on July 9, the night before the Turks take the stage with the Gibson Bros (featured in the book) at the Parking Lot Blowout. (Full Davidson bio at bottom.)
Now I dig that this section of the Donewaiting landscape is meant to extol the virtues of a criminally forgotten Ohio-based band. So to quickly hit that aim, Prisonshake were great, and you should find their records. I just spent two years of my life digging up info on and extolling the virtues of something like 80-90 “forgotten” bands for my just-released first book, We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001. Though it’s a hefty tome (350+ pages), there was still TONS of stuff that I had to cut out, and that sadly included a section featuring Prisonshake, but more pointedly Prisonshake and Scat Records leader, Robert Griffin (above).
In the late 1980s, I saw Griffin sling his guitar with Prisonshake a few times before walking into my Parmatown Mall coffee shop job one day and finding him hired as my manager. This ruled, as over the course of a summer, Griffin proceeded to school me on Ethiopian blends and the Easter Monkeys. With two mixtapes (that I still have) and numerous conversations, I got a grad class in Cleveland ugh-rock history. Prisonshake created some of the better records in Clevo underground rock history, which is definitely saying something. But Griffin also went on to release loads of cool records through his label Scat, including introducing the world to Guided By Voices. As such, here’s a portion of my book that got cut (well, a wee little made it into the tome), with Griffin giving a feral dog’s eye view of Cleveland, OH gutter rock, circa late 1970s-90s: Continue reading →
Handsome gentleman, frenetic front man and now, published author, Eric Davidson of the New Bomb Turks has put together a bunch of cool ass shit about a bunch of cool ass bands.
A description of the book in his words via an interview he did with Chunklet
It’s a bunch of pages bound by glue and shit. But seriously folks, it’s basically a rundown of that strata of trash punk bands and their indie labels from the 1990s (mostly, with some late-80s antecedents) who were neither swept up by the “alternative rock boom” or the Green Day/Offspring neo-punk trend; nor were all-out noise fringe-sters. Just hard-working rock’n’roll bands that basically took their re-lit on fire sounds from 50s/60s raw roots, 70s punk, and kind of eye-rolled the leftover macho hardcore dogmatics. Ended up getting sideways validation when that “neo-garage” trend of the early 2000s finally hit (White Stripes, Hives, Strokes, Jet, Donnas, etc.). And loads of my pals and I in said strata noticed that the major mag press for that trend was either only mentioning the old blues and classic rock these new bands liked, or treated it like a fad — when bands like Dwarves, Supersuckers, Mummies, Devil Dogs, Oblivians, NBT, Bassholes, Jon Spencer, Gories, Cynics, Didjits, Billy Childish and many many others were doing the updated raw roots garage thing for about a decade; many still doing it. And with bands in this tome — like the Mummies, NBT, Oblivians, Gories, Rip Offs and others — reuniting of late, it’s become apparent that these bands have had a slow-boiling influence for newer bands like Black Lips, King Khan & BBQ Show, Jay Reatard, Vivian Girls, Human Eye, Times New Viking, and many more…
Yes, there’s basically a Death of a Salesman “Attention must be paid” vibe; and my band, New Bomb Turks, is in it a bunch. But it’s not a memoir or whatever. In the end, it’s mostly just loads of wild stories and insider low-rung music biz myth-busting (and around 100 rare fliers/pix/ephemera) that I think would make a great read for any music fan, even if you don’t think the Sons of Hercules are underrated.